I got beaten by the slave master for bringing in the firewood late. I almost never got beaten. I also wasn't given any dinner. So when I laid down on my mat that night, I decided that a ghost appearing was one of the worst things to ever happen to me. I tried to sleep but the throbbing pain and aching hunger made it elusive.
So I got up and and began walk around the courtyard. Then I ventured into the castle itself. It was against the rules for a slave to walk the castle grounds after curfew, let alone enter the building. But at the moment it didn't feel wrong at all. I strolled down the corridors, marveling at its size. But as I continued I noticed a maiden dancing in the pale light filtering through the windows. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She had golden hair and she moved with the grace of an angel. I felt compelled to walk toward her, to see her face.
"Who are you?" I called out, my voice sounding odd and out of place. She made no reply, but only danced more furiously than before. I came closer and called out again.
"Who are you?" She continued to dance and the more she dances the more I began to wonder how I had ever mistaken her for beautiful. Her hair flew about her face wild and tangled and she jumped and twirled like one possessed. But I was still being pulled toward her, unable to resist. I called out again and again but she danced faster and faster, her hair changing from black to red to blond again. I reach her and turn her around but then...
I woke up. It was close to dawn and the sun had not risen yet. I got up, rolled up my sleeping mat and went to the kitchen. A piece of brown bread and a hunk of cheese had been left for my breakfast. I ate the cheese and stowed away the bread in my shirt for later. Then I went to the well to draw water. And ran into the king. He was standing at the well and had an impatient look on his face, like he had been waiting.
"Well?" He said, probing me with his sharp green eyes. "Shall we be off?"
"I must get water for the castle, your Majesty." I lower the bucket into the well. But as I continue to work, I get more and more uncomfortable under the gaze of the specter. Finally I turn to him.
"Surely you have some spiritual business to attend to?"
"This is the business I have to attend to."
I finished drawing the water and walked to one of the ramshackle shacks behind me. I knocked on the door and it is opened by a boy with a thin, horsey face and bright red hair.
"Yes?" he asked, yawning. I rolled my eyes. He had only just woken up now.
"Edgar, I need you to cover for me." I saw his face screw up in annoyance. "Don't complain! I filled in for you lots of times. You might as well return the favor."
"Alright, fine. For how long?"
"An hour or so."
"Fine, fine. Is it a girl?"
I walk over to where King William was standing.